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65. Lynn Jurich

Cofounder, co–CEO, Sunrun

The Solar Survivor

Sunrun began leasing solar-power systems in 2007 and has survived a down economy, skeptical consumers, and defensive utilities. Now it has more than 35,000 customers and has installed $1 billion-plus worth of rooftop systems in 10 states. Lynn Jurich had a plan:

Step 1: Get Personal
Jurich chatted up potential customers at county fairs, farmers' markets, and town halls. "Too many people build something and hand it off to a head of sales," she says.

Step 2: Stick With What You're Good At
Some competitors try to manage every piece of the value chain. Sunrun partners with local construction companies to move into new states quickly and cheaply.

Step 3: Educate
One Arizona utility sent out flyers warning that it might raise rates if more solar systems were installed. Jurich countered with a study showing otherwise, which Sunrun blasted to potential customers.

[Image courtesy of Sunrun]